Stanbic Bank Uganda has unveiled a special initiative to offer financial and non-financial services bespoke for women in business. The initiative is aimed at empowering them with competitive abilities to succeed in a world of business dominated by men.
The ‘Stanbic For Her’ initiative offers education, information, networking, and market linkages support to women in business and will be implemented in collaboration with IFC (the commercial arm of the World Bank).
Participating women will benefit from financial literacy training, cash flow and management of working capital, loan management, managing savings and debt, mentorship, and advisory services extended by the bank with support from IFC and Stanbic Business Incubator.
Ugandan women own about 39 per cent of businesses with registered premises, yet they receive only 9% of commercial credit, according to IFC and that the intervention by Stanbic Bank will support efforts geared towards reversing this situation.
The bank will also provide information on market needs and linkages through networking opportunities as well as capacity building and mentorship supported by the Stanbic Business Incubator — a sister company of Stanbic Bank Uganda.
Stanbic will also facilitate market access through online spaces and provide linkages to value chains and ecosystems associated with the bank’s corporate clients.
On the financial side, the bank is offering four different benefits including savings, investments, transactional and borrowing linked products tailored to common profiles of women in business and aimed at addressing credit related bottlenecks.
For instance, women in business will be borrowing loans at 12.5% through their SACCOs and at 15.5% interest on direct business loans while being exempted from any charges in the event of early settlement.
To encourage a savings culture among women entrepreneurs, Stanbic Bank is offering Educare– an insurance and savings product for children, medical and home insurance aimed at securing women in the event of loss of income or natural disasters such as death.
The Stanbic For Her programme, women will also be equipped with knowledge on investment and wealth creation with support from the SBG Securities.
Women will be offered opportunities to invest in treasury bills and bonds from as low as Ugx100,000, access to a dedicated financial and wealth advisor, fixed deposit earnings of up to 6% per year with flexible investment periods and other opportunities.
In terms of transactions, Stanbic Bank is enrolling women in business instantly, making payments and transferring funds to any wallet with Flexipay, charging zero management fees per month, providing VISA card loyalty rewards and more.
Women led economic growth
The Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Anne Juuko said, as a Ugandan business that does its business in Uganda and with Ugandans, Stanbic understands the challenges faced by different segments of the market, including women.
“As our country’s economy rebuilds from the last two years bedeviled by the pandemic, we want to empower women and women-led enterprises to lead the recovery process.
We know the challenges the women-led enterprises face every day, in their quest to achieve success; Stanbic For Here is aimed at removing the barriers that are limiting the potential of Ugandan women-led businesses to thrive,” said Juuko.
Juuko noted that while Stanbic Bank remains a bank for all Ugandans, it pays special attention to sidelined groups such women, youth, farmers, teachers, and health workers who face unique challenges within their unique contexts.
Dan Kasirye, IFC’s Resident Representative for Rwanda and Uganda based in Kigali, Rwanda lauded Stanbic Bank for recognizing the need in empowering women-led enterprises as they play a critical role in driving economic activity hence growth.
“Studies have revealed that access to finance barriers, cultural norms, and other unfavourable regulations significantly limit the success of women-run enterprises; IFC is pleased to collaborate with Stanbic Bank, a market leader in Uganda, to champion this important initiative which we believe will contribute towards finding solutions to many of these bottlenecks,” said Kasirye.
The keynote speaker Aggie Konde, Vice President for Program Development & Innovation at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) urged women to manage their lifestyle expenditure and save more from all the small sources of income they might have.
“From that Kameza (household petty cash) money, you can run a successful saving scheme and invest in different ventures to ultimately build wealth and gain financial independence. I welcome the Stanbic For Her initiative which, beyond supporting women with access to credit, is also teaching them how to actually manage the money, this is commendable,” she said.